I must fast or spend time in a hyperbaric chamber after this week. I am a bloated sack.
Christmas was wonderful, we had snow on Christmas Ever with giant flakes, and I spent most of the day cooking and looking out the window;
Of course while I was staring out the window, we made the 5 year old shovel the driveway;
He was so slow, we sent the 3 year old out to help;
Christmas snowman trying to upstage the metal one.
Our party was a success (or at least we thought it was), we had to do some last minute shoveling of clutter into our bedroom, but we do that every year. I'm still trying to do the math, but 15 people ate two hams. How is that possible?
Dessert table waiting to be attacked by the Haminators.
What made the holiday special for me was spending quiet time with the kids before the party and the chaos began. I felt like I was falling in love with my family again. Their excitement is contagious, and few moments can compare with watching a young child walking down the stairs on Christmas morning.
(poor transition)...How do you cope with the emotional crash that comes after the holidays...or am I the only one? It's hard to transition from non-stop preparation to a normal routine, so I felt sad the day after. Part of my sadness is because I miss my parents this time of year. Every year gets a little easier and having the kids around helps, but I still miss the way things were. Some of you who have lost a family member may understand; you can rearrange things and try to ignore it, but it's there waiting to take hold, and in a moment you are crying because you see an ambulance at a house across the street. I think I need to plan a distraction after Christmas day - maybe a Brad Pitt movie marathon or a 10 hour therapy session. For today, I am going to focus on what I do have; my youngest son's reaction to opening a gift he really wanted, snow on Christmas Eve, the smell of bread baking, and a home full of love. Although there are people missing, there are those present who need me to think of them, so I am writing this to remind myself for next year.
I haven't slept in two days due to a persistent cough that occurs when my head is not upright, so here is an incoherent list of last minute holiday stuff.
1. I finished the above garland this weekend. I like to pretend we live in a quaint Japanese house that is decorated tastefully for Christmas and we walk around in clean white socks.
2. Garland hanging on window.
3. The reality of our decorating - not very tasteful. Gnomes, Godzilla, and the Abominable Snowman battle for village domination.
4. Sledding before -20 degree wind chill.
5. Last minute felted snowman that sent my husband over the edge.
6. Snow on my pants. Not sure why this picture is here.
7. To rid myself of this cough and ear ache, I went to a convenient care doctor on Sunday. No one was there except for me and the kid with strep throat because the -26 wind chill. I think the doctors were happy to have patients on a Sunday, so I was glad to help. Do you ever notice when you are sick during the holidays people run away from you like you have the Christmas plague? I know I held my breath when the man announced to the empty waiting room that his son had strep. They had a vending machine in the office to get your prescriptions. I used it because I am so cutting edge lazy. I asked the nurse if there was a little pharmacist in the machine, she didn't laugh. You type in your information and bottles of pills fall out like M&Ms. I was a bit apprehensive about using the machine and I checked the numbers and colors on my pills. I hope there is a Pharmacist putting pills in the correct holders and not the guy who just loaded the pop machine down the hall.
8. New ornaments for the tree.
9. Little Match girl & gnome (Etsy seller pattern) posing with photo shoot deer.
10. The kid's tree.
11. My youngest son's holiday spirit reminds me so much of my Dad's and when he asked me to make him gingerbread men, it took my breath away. As a tradition my Dad would ask my Mom, "Where are my gingerbread men," and he would ask every day until she made them. No one liked gingerbread in our family, so they would sit untouched throughout the holiday, but they were made every year. It wasn't until I made them that I realized why my Dad wanted them; the smell. Sometimes we forget how smells can take you back in time, and when I opened the oven good memories came pouring out. So if you find yourself standing at the stove this week making a traditional dish, remember that you are also creating a memory that may go on for generations. Gingerbread will be baked in this house from now on.
Whatever holiday you celebrate this week, I hope you have good times with family and friends. I will be back later this week.
We survived the snow storm. We are disappointed that school was canceled today and we missed the Christmas program, but it's better that everyone is safe.
I made this cardinal from a pattern in Living Crafts magazine for my cousin.
We bought two hams for Christmas Eve because we have to. Do you ever want to write a potentially funny, but maybe not to the family members who you mention, post? I'm biting my tongue. Did you know there is a way to arrange two hams in such a way that we may be able to cook them at the same time?
I'm still sick, so I need to go to bed early. Have a nice weekend.
I have love/hate feelings for snow. I love it when it snows on a weekend and you have nowhere to go, and there is food in the house. I can look out my window and admire how pretty everything looks and when I step outside, it's so quiet you feel like you are the only person in the world awake. You can bake cookies that day and build a snowman and come inside and drink hot cocoa. Ahhh...
But snow doesn't always show up on the weekend, usually it's during rush hour or when you have to be somewhere. When you live in Illinois and it snows, you go to work and school is rarely canceled. I've heard that in Portland, OR when it snows, the entire city shuts down. Here no one sings you a song of pity, if you have to be at work at 8, then you leave the house at 4 a.m. so you have plenty of time. Monday morning we had an ice storm, so we drove to work sideways down the street and were glad to make it there. Tuesday we had another storm - 5 inches at rush hour. It took my husband and I two hours to get home - and this was considered a "lucky" travel time, it took some people 3-4 hours to make it home. We are standing in the kitchen, the floor is wet, our feet are cold and we have to get the kids ready for bed, but the driveway has to be shoveled. We just sigh as the local weatherman is dancing The Pony as he announces the next storm.
Part of the problem this year is the economy, our local towns are low on funds because of decreased sales taxes and salt is now over $100 a ton. I have no idea why, maybe the salt companies figured out how to gouge us like the oil companies. So, no plowing for you - go ahead and ditch your car and try to drive around the demolition derby on the highway. Our town bought a strange truck that shoots brine water (or is it brine shrimp?) on the street and are trying new materials to melt the ice; couscous and Lucky Charms. Oh, it's so colorful and crunchy, but my car is still sliding. I feel like "the Man" is bringing me down - all the rich people tanked the stock market and the economy and now we have to sit in traffic because the boss wants you at work. Wow, I'm kinda stretching this a bit...
My point is, snow isn't always pretty, it's dangerous and cold and sometimes makes you want to cry. I wanted to post this tonight because we have another ice storm coming tomorrow and we may be stuck in the house eating and burning our drywall for survival. It's magically delicious.
Have you ever noticed how when you are juggling the holiday stuff to do and it is crunch time, you get a kick in the pants and get sick? I think I have the flu - fever, aches - all good fun. Before I became ill, I did manage a trip to Target with all the other last minute shoppers. I was standing next to this woman and she was sighing looking at jars of nuts on sale - pistachios, mix nuts, and honey roasted cashews. I wanted to say to her, "It is painful, do you get the gift card or jar of nuts?" I say neither. I am tired of obligation giving - gifts should be from the heart and something you want to give - not an end-cap package of holiday pretzels with a bonus aromatherapy candle. I know, those people give you a can of popcorn every year, so you feel obligated - pull them aside and say next year, let's just say no and save an episode at Target.
Our decorations are up:
Ikea birds, Joanne fabric wreath - inspiration UncommonGrace, back of the Cha, Cha, Cha room - glitter houses and Godzilla.
My new favorite Danish paper cut. I hope you had a nice weekend!
In Denmark basket weave hearts are filled with small candies and hung as ornaments from Christmas trees. These can be made out of construction paper or felt. This will probably be an awful tutorial...
1. Cut a rectangle 2 1/2 inches by 9 inches from red and white felt.
2. Fold the rectangles in half. The folded sheets should be 2 1/2 inches by 4 1/2 inches.
3. From both the red and white rectangles, cut up from the fold, three 3 inch slits.
4. Opposite the fold, round off the top. Oh, I didn't follow my own directions and rounded off the top before I cut the slits.
5. Weave the first loop into the fourth loop. This is hard to explain, so I copied a picture from directions I have. Note that you are weaving through, not under each other.
It's difficult to explain the weaving, but once you get the hang of it, you will be able to make these in no time at all. You are trying to make a basket and when the weaving is done, it should look like this:
6. Cut a handle and sew on the inside of the heart. If you are using paper, you can glue or staple the handle.
Every year Martha Stewart presents a holiday craft that sends me on a wild chase to hunt down an unknown craft supply. She is my hero and nemesis. Last year was the special coated paper to make snowflakes to hang outside. After numerous web searches and stops to craft stores, I finally found the paper, but I had to buy an industrial size roll. Of course, I made 2 snowflakes, which immediately flew up into the gutter and froze.
There was the 6 layer chocolate cake that could only be made with special Dutch cocoa. I bought extra baking pans and followed the directions perfectly, only to make the worlds worst tasting cake and we cursed her that night. This year, I actually finished something (see above) from her December MS Living magazine, so she is back on my good side. She tried to trip me up with the sanding sugar requirement, but for some reason I had some. I was confused when the directions mentioned "flower frogs" - I still have no idea what these are, but used craft foam. I won this round. Oh, she is trying to trap me with her cranberry and sherbet punch, but I am trying to control the urge to make something that requires boiling and straining perky cranberries. I must be strong. What Martha craft has sent you over the edge? Should I know what flower frogs are? Why do I have sanding sugar?